MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Palmer Course at Stonewall Resort in Roanoke will play host to the West Virginia Open for the first time this week. The 89th edition of the WVGA Championship, which features the state’s top professionals and amateurs, begins Wednesday morning at the Lewis County resort.
David Bradshaw will defend his title in the 54-hole event. The Shepherd University graduate and 12-time champion tees off Wednesday morning in the 8:24 grouping off the No. 1 tee. Bradshaw is paired with two-time champion and Marshall University graduate Christian Brand and reigning West Virginia Amateur champion Philip Reale.
Bradshaw won his first West Virginia Open title at Charleston’s Edgewood Country Club in 2004. He has added titles in 2006-2007, 2009-2011, 2013, 2016-2019 and most recently at Bridgeport’s Pete Dye Golf Club in 2021. Bradshaw continues to close the gap on the legendary Sam Snead, who holds the record for the most Open titles with 17.
In addition to Bradshaw and Brand, three more former champions are entered in the 132-man field. Parkersburg’s Ken Hess (2020), Sissonville’s Craig Berner (2005) and Freeman’s John Ross (1997 & 1999) look to etch their names in the record books once more. Ross is the oldest player in the field at age 70. 13-year-old Tommy Evans of Charles Town is the youngest competitor.
Other notable players in the field include: Fairmont’s Jess Ferrell (2022 Mid-Amateur Champion), Hurricane’s Pat Carter (2022 Senior Open Champion & 13-time Amateur Champion), Sam O’Dell (4-time Amateur Champion) and Tanner Walls (2022 Junior Match Play Champion).
Notable college golfers in the field include: Todd Duncan (WVU), Christian Boyd (Marshall), Ryan Bilby (Marshall), Joseph Kalaskey (Marshall), Noah Mullens (Marshall), Nick Fleming (Wingate), Clark Craig (Fairmont State) and Alex Easthom (West Liberty).
Stonewall Resort has hosted several WVGA Championships and USGA Qualifying events since its opening in 2003. The course measures 6,726 yards and plays as a par 72. Buckhannon’s Mike Rogers is the Director of Golf at Stonewall and will compete in the Open. Seven statewide qualifying events set the field for this year’s tournament.
The field will be cut to the low 60 golfers and ties after Thursday’s second round. Live scoring throughout the championship can be found at the WVGA website.